‘We act as though Truth were something we could stuff in our pockets, something we could take out every once in awhile to show people “Here! This is it!” We forget that they will show us their slips of paper, with other Truths written upon them.’
~ Steve Hagen Roshi
All addicts enter recovery out of isolation. Often that was our choice, because we didn’t feel that we had anything to offer others, or believed that we were contemptible in their eyes. When we did interact with others, we made sure that they only learned those things that we thought would disguise who we really were.
The only way we can overcome our habit of withdrawing from others is to practice. We do that in little ways — a phone call, a conversation after a meeting. Gradually we get the courage to open up, testing the other person’s reliability and developing the trust we need to allow them to know us. In doing so, we learn about ourselves and our truths.
We think of Truth in broad terms, as the truth of ideas, philosophies, belief systems and the like. Many thinkers, priests, shamans and charlatans over the centuries have laid claim to the Ultimate Truth, but we aren’t speaking here of a concept that is at best ephemeral. There are other truths, much closer to our lives, our recovery and happiness: a caress, a secret shared, an apology, forgiveness, delight.
Being truthful, in this sense, is being genuine — letting the other know who we really are. Shared concerns and fears, the beauty of a flower, mutual appreciation of a good book all give us glimpses into the heart of the other person. Knowing another person in that way is close to being the most genuine and intimate truth of all, but the greatest is that of who we are — not as perceived by others, but by ourselves.